Could a little plastic hook and loop technology help polar bears' long-term survival?
Perhaps, if prototype trackers for the bears made using Velcro connecting systems from 3M allow researchers to better understand what the bears need.
The problem, according to Polar Bears International researchers, is that tracking collars really don't work for young bears, so they're harder to study. While electronics haven't gotten smaller, attachment systems haven't kept up.
Luckily, one of PBI's researchers, BJ Kirschhoffer, has a father who works for 3M. Jon Kirschhoffer is an advanced research specialist in the 3M Corporate Research Systems Lab.
"I asked my dad if the 3M technical community could figure out how to stick a tag on a polar bear, and they rose to the challenge," BJ Kirschhoffer said in a release from 3M. "They liked the environmental aspect of it and the chance to contribute to polar bear conservation."
The 3M team developed four prototypes, including ones that use Velcro to connect to the bears' fur. You can find more (and check out a video) here.